- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- Former California State Contractor Sued Over Breach Of HIV Patient Privacy
- Sacramento Watch 1
- Proposed Measure Putting State In Control Of Certain Health Prices Sets Stage For Lobbying Brawl
- Marketplace 1
- Clinic CEO Facing Fraud, Bribery Charges Calls His Treatment 'Miraculous.' Doctors, Medicare Beg To Disagree
- Public Health and Education 1
- Though Wildfires Are Long Extinguished, Emotional Devastation Left In Their Wake Lingers Still
- Around California 1
- Many Of Fired Health Manager's Claims Of Fraud Have No Basis In Fact, Ventura County Counsel Says
Latest From California Healthline:
A lawsuit claims that a private company hired by the state public health department to manage enrollment in an AIDS drug assistance program for low-income patients inadvertently allowed unauthorized access to their medical status. (Anna Gorman, 4/6)
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More News From Across The State
The measure, which will be unveiled at a news conference Monday, would establish a commission that would set rates for health care services based off what the government pays for such services under Medicare. It's likely to draw fierce opposition, though.
Los Angeles Times:
An Ambitious California Bill Would Put The State In Charge Of Controlling Prices In The Commercial Healthcare Market
In one of the most aggressive efforts in the nation to curb soaring healthcare spending, a new California measure would put the state in charge of setting prices for hospital stays, doctor's visits and most other medical services covered by commercial insurers. The bill, backed by labor unions and consumer groups, is certain to rouse fierce opposition from physicians and hospitals, setting the stage for a brawl between some of the Capitol's top lobbying heavyweights. Proponents also face friction on the left from advocates of single-payer healthcare, who espouse an alternate vision of how to overhaul the state's healthcare. (Mason, 4/9)
G. Ford Gilbert's IV insulin infusions for diabetes wounds have been called scams, but still his nationwide system of clinics that offer the procedures has been thriving.
Doctors Debunk Diabetes Treatment As Fraud Charges Hit Clinic Executive
Just imagine: A nonsurgical treatment that helps millions of people with complications from diabetes restore vision, repair damaged kidneys, and reverse heart disease and cognitive decline. A treatment that heals wounds in their legs and feet, repairs damage from stroke, and eliminates a common type of diabetic nerve pain called neuropathy. The nation has a limited supply of healthcare dollars to spend on drugs and services, which is why the government and health plans require scientific evidence of patient benefit. This is especially important for the 30.3 million people in the U.S. with diabetes, whose medical costs in 2012 totaled $245 billion.That’s what lawyer G. Ford Gilbert and his network of Trina Health clinics have been promising with his IV insulin infusions offered through his Sacramento-based company. The Trina CEO calls the procedure “miraculous,” and the first “real change” in treatment for people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes since the 1921 discovery of insulin. (Clark, 4/7)
Residents report "uncontrollable flashbacks" and other psychological trauma from the fires that burned in the fall.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
‘Uncontrollable Flashbacks’: Mental Anguish Remains 6 Months After Fires
Across the North Bay, tens of thousands of other residents continue to experience the trauma caused by last October’s North Bay wildfires. The psychological and emotional impact is widespread, with some experiencing various mental health symptoms more severely than others, usually depending on how closely they were impacted by the fire, according to mental health experts. Last week, Press Democrat readers were asked to describe the emotional and psychological impact the fires have had on them in the past six months. Responding through emails, phone calls and on The Press Democrat’s website, local residents spoke of “uncontrollable flashbacks” triggered by the smallest things — a siren, an alarm or an orange glow in the fog. (Espinoza, 4/8)
In other public health news —
Trauma Surgeon Who Treated YouTube Victims: 'Every Day There Are People Who Are Getting Shot And Hurt'
Gun violence clamored for our attention again earlier this week, when a woman shot three people and then killed herself Tuesday at the YouTube headquarters in San Bruno. ...[Andre] Campbell surfaced from the emergency room to talk to the press on Tuesday afternoon, emphasizing that gun violence happens daily in the Bay Area and across the United States, whether a scrum of reporters is there to cover it or not. (Klivans, 4/6)
LA County Launches New Plan To Give Black Babies A Better Chance At Life
In Los Angeles County, black babies are more than three times more likely than white babies to die in the first year of life. ...On Friday, the county announced an action plan to reduce that disparity by 30 percent in the next five years by averting the chronic stress that contributes to poor birth outcomes. (Neely, 4/6)
Timothy Patten, the former chief deputy director of the Ventura County Health Care Agency, said he had identified more than $100 million in activities he suspected were aimed at defrauding government agencies, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, financial rating agencies and bondholders.
Ventura County Star:
County Looking At Fraud Allegations Brought By Former Health Manager
Ventura County officials are investigating a fired health care manager’s claims of irregular and fraudulent financial practices in the county’s public medical system. The allegations were cited in a $5.24 million retaliation claim filed against the county last year by Timothy Patten, chief deputy director and No. 2 person in the Ventura County Health Care Agency for most of 2016. Patten said he had identified more than $100 million in activities he suspected were aimed at defrauding government agencies, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, financial rating agencies and bondholders — a description the county’s chief financial officer found absurd. (Wilson, 4/7)
In other news from across the state —
Ventura County Star:
Ventura Winter Homeless Shelter A "Social Services Hub," Operator Says
On any night, employees from the county and nonprofits, as well as volunteers, were at the shelter, helping with housing, employment and veterans services, giving haircuts or providing health care, he said. And about 20 people were moved into transitional housing. The shelter’s hours were slightly expanded, too, giving providers more of an opportunity for interactions with those who stayed and ensuring they didn’t have to leave the property while it was still dark outside. (Martinez, 4/6)
The face of the health care industry is changing, and more people are flocking to quick-fix urgent clinics over hard-to-get-into doctors offices.
The New York Times:
The Disappearing Doctor: How Mega-Mergers Are Changing The Business Of Medical Care
Is the doctor in? In this new medical age of urgent care centers and retail clinics, that’s not a simple question. Nor does it have a simple answer, as primary care doctors become increasingly scarce. “You call the doctor’s office to book an appointment,” said Matt Feit, a 45-year-old screenwriter in Los Angeles who visited an urgent care center eight times last year. “They’re only open Monday through Friday from these hours to those hours, and, generally, they’re not the hours I’m free or I have to take time off from my job. (Abelson and Creswell, 4/7)
In other national health care news —
The Associated Press:
Where Americans Found Jobs: Manufacturing And Health Care
Manufacturers added jobs for an eighth straight month in March, driven mainly by companies that produce durable goods like cars, computers and metal products. Hiring in the sector rose by 22,000 in March and has risen 232,000 over the past year. Health care extended its strong run of gains, adding more than 22,000 jobs in March. The gain was driven by hiring by hospitals, dental clinics and physicians' offices. Professional and business services, which include accounting, advertising and administrative support, added 33,000. (4/6)
Poll: Voters Say Health Care Top Issue In Midterms
Voters rank health care as the top issue heading into this year’s midterm elections, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll released Friday. More registered voters picked health care as the top issue than any other topic when asked to pick their top two issues, the poll found. (Sullivan, 4/6)
The New York Times:
Why Trump’s Tariffs Could Raise The Cost Of A Hip Replacement
Pacemakers and artificial joints. Defibrillators. Dental fillings. Birth-control pills and vaccines. All are made in China, and all could be subject to new tariffs. Dozens of drugs and medical devices are among the Chinese products and ingredients that the Trump administration targeted for a potential 25 percent tariff in a proposal this week. The list includes some products that are in dangerously short supply, like epinephrine, used to treat allergic reactions, and others, like insulin, whose rising prices have driven public outrage in the United States. (Kaplan and Thomas, 4/6)
A Rare Loss For U.S. Pharma Lobby Will Cost The Industry Billions
Deep in a budget deal Congress passed earlier this year -- just 118 words in Section 53116, a little before passages on prison reporting data and payment yields for seed cotton -- was a hit to pharmaceutical companies that will cost them billions, and could signal more losses to come. Despite an intense lobbying push, lawmakers changed a Medicare rule, putting manufacturers on the hook for more of seniors’ prescription costs. The companies will have to offer a much more generous discount to beneficiaries who fall into the so-called donut hole coverage gap, marking down retail costs by 70 percent instead of the current 50 percent. (Edney, 4/6)
A Tale Of Two CT Scanners — One Richer, One Poorer
Benjamin Hynden, a financial adviser in Fort Myers, Fla., hadn’t been feeling well for a few weeks last fall. He’d had pain and discomfort in his abdomen.In October, he finally made an appointment to see his doctor about it. “It wasn’t severe,” he said. “It was just kind of bothersome. It just kind of annoyed me during the day.” The internist, Dr. John Ardesia, checked him out and referred him for a CT scan at a nearby imaging center. The radiologist didn’t see anything wrong on the images, and Ardesia didn’t recommend any treatment. (Kodjak, 4/9)
The New York Times:
Naloxone Stops Opioid Overdoses. How Do You Use It?
The United States surgeon general issued a rare national advisory on Thursday urging more Americans to carry naloxone, a drug used to revive people overdosing on opioids. The last time a surgeon general issued such an urgent warning to the country was in 2005, when Richard H. Carmona advised women not to drink alcohol when pregnant. (Dias and Correal, 4/6)